Exchange 2013: Dude, Where’s my Exchange Management Console (EMC)?

by Bharat Suneja on July 19, 2012

Microsoft released Exchange 2013 Preview earlier this week, along with Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Preview, and Microsoft Lync 2013 Preview. Check out the following resources:

Note, this is a preview version, not the final product release. As with any pre-release versions, you shouldn’t install it in a production environment.

One of the first questions many Exchange folks will have right of the bat is:

Where is the familiar Exchange Management Console (EMC), the GUI management tool introduced in Exchange Server 2007 and also found in Exchange Server 2010?

The answer: There isn’t! That’s right – Exchange 2013 Preview does not have the traditional, MMC-based management tool.


Figure 1: You won’t find the EMC in the Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 program group on your server’s Start menu

There’s the Exchange Management Shell (EMS). Does this mean you can only manage Exchange 2013 Preview using the Shell? No!

Enter the Exchange Administration Center (EAC), a new web-based unified console that allows you to manage Exchange Server 2013 (on-premises), Exchange Online Preview organizations and hybrid deployments. You don’t need to install any admin tools on your management computer/workstation to use the EAC. In fact, the EAC provides rich cross-browser and cross-platform support so you can use your browser of choice (see list of supported browsers/platforms).

You can access the EAC by going to http://<serverFQDN>/ecp. If you’ve been using Exchange 2010, the URL may sound familiar – it belongs to the Exchange Control Panel (ECP). In Exchange 2013 Preview, the same familiar URL lands you to the new web-based admin console that’s packed with functionality.


Figure 2: The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) login page at http://server.domain.com/ecp (see larger image)

When you first log in to the EAC (if you’ve never logged into your mailbox), you’re presented with the familiar language/locale and timezone setting page.

If you’ve been using EMC in Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2007, you’ll be right at home with the EAC. Even if you’re not, it’s an easy web-based tool you can navigate through without much effort.


Figure 3: The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) in Exchange 2013 Preview (see larger image)

The familiar choices in navigation bar include:

Left navigation Tabs
Recipients Mailboxes | Groups | Resources (resource mailboxes) | Contacts | Shared (mailboxes) | Migration
Permissions Admin Roles | User Roles | and in this Preview build – OWA Policies.
Compliance Management In-Place Discovery (Multi-Mailbox Search in Exchange 2010) & Hold (In-Place Hold, new functionality to replace Litigation Hold aka Legal Hold, which is deprecated but still available in this release) | Auditing (mailbox audit logging & admin audit logging reports) | Data Loss Prevention (new information protection feature) | Retention Policies | Retention Tags | Journaling
Organization Sharing (Federation Trusts) | Apps (new feature) | Address Lists
Protection Anti-Malware (new feature)
Mail Flow Rules (transport rules) | Delivery Reports | Accepted Domains | Email Address Policies | Receive Connectors | Send Connectors
Mobile Mobile Device Access (Allow/Block/Quarantine mobile devices) | Mobile Device Policies (ActiveSync Mailbox Policies)
Public Folders Public Folders | Public Folder Mailboxes
Unified Messaging UM Dial Plans | UM IP Gateways
Servers Servers | Databases (from entire org) | Database Availability Groups | Virtual Directories (manage all CAS virtual directories, including AutoDiscover, EAS, ECP – used by EAC, EWS, OWA and PowerShell) | Certificates
Hybrid Setup (Setup a Hybrid deployment with Office 365)

So that’s a quick run down of the elements in the EAC in Exchange 2013 Preview. You can learn more in Exchange Administration Center in Exchange 2013 Preview documentation.

Remember, Exchange 2013 Preview, and therefore the EAC, is a work in progress. The navigation elements and their locations described above may go through changes by the time Exchange 2013 ships.

Have you checked out the EAC? What do you like about it? Things that should be changed?

Check out Managing The New Exchange, an in-depth look at the Exchange Administration Center on the Exchange team blog, and FAQ: Exchange Administration Center in Exchange 2013 Preview documentation.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 missy July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

Crap. Does this portend the end of the management console?

Love,
I truly abhor web-based administrative tools, thank heaven I use the shell more than the console.

Reply

2 Bharat Suneja July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

Web-based consoles of yesteryears have left a lot to be desired, but as the web has grown up and matured, so have web-based consoles.

I like the fact that you don’t need to install anything, can manage Exchange from anywhere using (practically) any browser and OS. So in that sense, it’s more freedom. Also, given the world’s transitioning to the cloud, web-based consoles are a great fit. In Exchange 2013 Preview, you can use the same console to manage Exchange 2013 Preview on-premises, Exchange Online Preview (cloud-based), and Hybrid deployments (the middle ground) using the same tool.

However, as a huge PowerShell fan, I also LOVE the fact that you can manage Exchange on-prem AND Exchange Online using the cmdline – without having full-blown Exchange management tools installed on your computer.

Side note (and stating the obvious): What you’re seeing is Exchange 2013 Preview, not the final version.

Reply

3 Meg July 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Is the EAC web console faster than EMC?

Reply

4 Bharat Suneja July 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Haven’t compared side-by-side, but the EAC does feel snappier and definitely loads faster.

Reply

5 rob August 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Yes EMC is still loads faster.

Reply

6 Magnus Björk July 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Very much so Meg, I did a few test (mentioned in http://mailmaster.se/blog/?p=873) and I only got EAC as a winner.

Reply

7 nick July 20, 2012 at 1:14 am

Can’t say i’m taken with it, on first impressions. got it installed on 2012, and the whole thing feels slow and cumbersome, and pointlessly different – a lot of change for the sake of change. i can see i’m going to spend a lot of time telling admins how to do their job. if it gets more of them using powershell properly, though, it’s a win.

Reply

8 Paul Silva August 3, 2012 at 2:26 am

Bharat, always happy to read your blog. Wish you blogged more frequently, now that Exchange 2013 is out! :)

Reply

9 Bharat Suneja December 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thanks Paul!

Reply

10 surjeet taank September 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

thanks for posting this.

I think silverlight based admin console should have been better option if Microsoft wanted to go from EMC to a web based administration. i must agree with “Nick” it is slow and some time errors out but we must all remember this is not a final product.

Another concept which I didn’t really grasp was the change of Architecture again, it seems we are going backwards to Exchange 2003, two roles front end and back end.

Regards,
Surj

Reply

11 Bharat Suneja March 20, 2013 at 10:19 am

Adopting something like SilverLight (or Adobe Flash/AIR) may have posed an issue for the excellent cross-browser / cross-platform compatibility that both EAC (or its predecessor, ECP) & OWA have offered since Exchange 2010.

It would’ve required a browser plug-in to be installed, and the driver for web-based consoles is to not require installation of additional software.

Reply

12 rabb September 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Dear
i am getting unexpected error and can not see the EAC details for config
secondly IIS settings are critical can you pls send details for IIS configuration
i am using 12 server and 13 Exch

Reply

13 Mark Orser October 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I will cross my fingers and hope someday, just maybe someday EAC would come out for Exchange 2010 in a future Service Pack. Small possibility but it is possible :)

We have a User Forest / Resource Forest environment. We want to install Exchange management tools on our User Forest 64 bit administration workstations but it is not possible. going web based would solve this.

Thanks for the article.

Reply

14 Sany January 11, 2013 at 10:41 am

While I am working with Exchange 2013, I accedentily delete IIS default web site.
After that I couldn’t able to login to exchange administration center (EAC) or even exchange powershell

Reply

15 Bharat Suneja January 14, 2013 at 11:10 am

True – there’s no mgmt site to connect to. Which tool did you use to delete the default web site – IIS console? Perhaps there should be built-in protection for default web site on Exchange servers or a clearly worded confirmation prompt.

Reply

16 Sean January 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Loved the 2003 system manager and tools like PFDAVadmin and Exmerge. LOATH 2010 scripting! I hope 2013 web based tools give you all the functionality and tools that 2003 gave you.

Reply

17 Rodrix March 2, 2013 at 6:59 am

Well Mr. Suneja,

Quoting your lines “Web-based consoles of yesteryears have left a lot to be desired, but as the web has grown up and matured, so have web-based consoles.”

So, why Microsoft can not give exactly the same Exchange managenet consle as it is in 2007 and 2010 BUT instead of an application it will be web based ! the only difference will be, the web based console will have no right clieck and which is 100% fine because the third pane of the console has all the options what we get when we do a right click !

I would appricate, if I do see a reply from you.

Reply

18 Ruth March 4, 2013 at 1:57 am

Good Point Rodrix !

Reply

19 Bharat Suneja March 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm

The console needs to evolve to meet different needs. Note, Outlook Web App, also a web-based app in Exchange, has right-click functionality, so I wouldn’t rule it out for EAC in the future. For now, the third pane provides the options you would’ve normally seen when using right-click in 2007/2010, as you’ve noted. Most customers would likely see efforts focused on more high priority functionality.

Reply

20 Terry Nelson March 20, 2013 at 8:29 am

The Web Based ECP totally sucks. This needs to be addressed. We dont care about office365, what is M$ catering to such a small amount of users and screwing the rest?

Reply

21 Bharat Suneja March 20, 2013 at 10:32 am

What part of it sucks? Agreed, it may not offer complete feature parity with fat management clients such as EMC.

Reply

22 Csaba April 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

My God!
I tried the Exchange 2013 just now. It’s unbelievable it’s so slow with many errors.
The Windows Server 2012 IE 10 restarted many times in one hour but the server and Exchange 2013 were just now installed with no mailboxes!!! (Internet Explorer has stopped working many times…)
Sorry developers but this web based management console is a really bad conception and a really bad “product” with reduced functionality.

Unfortunatelly the news is true.
We have to wait a better product with a better and faster management console before doing an upgrade from Exchange 2010.

Sorry guys but this development direction is bad. We have to buy faster and much expensive servers with unuseable tools just because somebody found out this web based crazy conception. (Needed 8 GB memory??? What a hell!!! What’s this? Is it a NASA application to direct hundreds of space shuttles???)

The only “value” is we don’t have to install the management application. But who care with it?
We don’t want to manage the corporate Exchange from an other computer than our computer. If so, we can use RDP…
So then is more than enough to install that tools only once to our computers…

Ok, I know. You wanted to make a product for everybody like Office 365. But who can manage servers? The End Users? Of course, no! The admins. So believe me an admin can install a fast, useable management tool…

Developers, developers, developoers! I’m sure you want to create a valuable product
but please, please, please use your mind before you make such a weak thing like Exchange 2013 web based management.

We don’t mind if you make web based management tools but please make useable Windows or Silverlight based tools as well.

Thanks.

Reply

23 Ryan Garland April 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Completely agree. Exchange 2013 is a bad server product. No management console is silly and the Web based console is laughable. Command line still works, but what features are gained for all that is lost. Microsoft says:
1.)Touch optimization…wtf is that? I don’t need my server to be touch optimized.
2.) Sharepoint integration using Site mailboxes…yawn.
3.) Malware and anti-spam filters…still not up to par with competitive solutions.

Reply

24 Oren Chapo May 13, 2013 at 2:16 pm

There’s an alternative to EMC: it’s a 3rd-party tool called “Exchange Tasks 365″, developed by U-BTech Solutions. The tool supports both on-premise Exchange servers (2010/2013) and Office 365. It’s great for recipient management and offers advanced options like bulk operations.

Various licensing options are available, including a free trial (for everyone) and a free copy (for partners). Try it: http://www.u-btech.com/products/exchange-tasks-365.html

Reply

25 SreRaj September 27, 2013 at 6:06 am

I just completed a new Exchange 2013 Test Server installation. I can’t find EMC and then read about EAC. But server does not allow me to open IE so that I can connect to EAC. It says, IE cannot be opened with default Admin Account. Do I need to create another account and make it admin and then login with that?

Reply

26 ARGH! November 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm

This has got to be one of the largest cluster F’s in MS history. Let’s all just throw in the towel and move over to office 365 in the cloud because that is obviously where they are trying to push us with this half ass update. I can’t manage my Exchange 2013 settings because dun dun dun, it kicks an error when specifying the release number. Why fix what isn’t broken? I had a feeling it was only going to get worse when they stripped AD integration out of exchange in 2010. This is just plain stupid. Web based control is a nice “feature” but making it mandatory is just plain idiotic!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: